Since the beginning of the women’s movement in the 1970s, one of its wings has been advocating the positive portrayal of sexuality and feminist pornography. This faction calls itself sexpositive feminism or, for short: PorYes.
While an examination of the sex-positive activism and the movement confronting sexist pornography – known medially as the “Feminist Sex Wars” – was going on in the Anglo-Saxon realm during the 1980s, [continental] European feminists were standing in less opposition to one another. Although PorNo-debates and campaigns also took place in Continental Europe, they proceeded in a markedly differentiated manner, perhaps partly due to the time lag in-between the continents. A sex-positive stance often grew out of, or even concurrently shaped, an anti-pornographic stance.
HERE AND NOW OF PORYES
As for today, recent studies show that contemporary women’s attitudes toward pornography are empirically and distinctly more differentiated than they had been 30 years ago: Nowadays, a high level of sensitization to discriminatory, violent portrayals of and behavior toward women has been documented. In addition, a concurrent openness to consensual, sexual experimentation has come into existence, a characteristic feature which also applies for pornographic portrayals.
The transformation stems from the social movements and, primarily, the women’s movement, which has changed sexual ethics over the past 35 years and introduced a new set of ethics in negotiation.
Sexology mentions a fundamental change in sexual behavior brought about by women and achieved through the persistent raising of awareness with the establishment of women’s sex shops – in that they provided counseling and educational offerings; high quality, functional, and aesthetic toys; and informative sex reference books.
WOMEN’s PORN IN THE FIELD OF SEXUALITY
Within the realm of women’s pornography, sexuality was dealt with in a more relaxed manner. These newly defined needs also found their way into the commercialized sex industry, which in turn offered attractive toy collections and mainstream porn for women. This positive step, however, does not alter the fact that the majority of leading products are produced under unethical work conditions, often at the cost of the environment.
NAMING THE GOALS OF THE EUROPEAN FEMINIST PORN FILM PRIZE
With the European Feminist Porno Film Prize in Berlin, public space for this newly manifested women’s pornography shall be promoted and come into being, as well as a sex-positive shift in erotic culture. Within this context, the women’s movement presents more of its political, progressive side, which is sexologically up-to-date and gender-politically groundbreaking. With the third anti-pornography movement as its backdrop, the European Feminist Porno Film Prize will draw extraordinary attention which has consequences that even reach into private relationships. The string of events will make the criteria for feminist porno films clear to the public, in turn stimulating discussion and exchanges of perspective.
Criteria for the PorYes-Lable:
• A sex-positive attitude, no de-humanising or misogynistic portrayals
• Roles in collusion with those involved / no crossing of personal borders
• Ethical work conditions / safe sex is encouraged
• Those involved will be shown in relation to one another – eye, skin, hand, and body contact, energy exchange.
• Emotions and declarations of love are encouraged, doable, and showable.
• Diverse camera settings, light and shadow games
• Variations of sexual practices in joyful transitions, not an achievement test, broadening of the stereotypically portrayed spectrum.
• A variety of body types, ages, genders, sexual orientations and ethnic backgrounds.
• Authentic sound recordings or music. No gender-stereotypical amplified dubbing of moaning.
• Portrayal of lust and pleasure, focus on female lust and its diversity.
• No schematic portrayals of the “sexual curve” – that is to say no straight zoom in on the male ejaculation, no emphasis of the male cum shot. Orgasms are not the only goal.
• Women are significantly involved in the production of the film as producers, directors, or camerawomen.
The sex-positive portrayal of female as all gender lust, the depiction of varied sexual expressions and ethical working conditions -“Fair porn” – are the minimum requirements for all films. For a period of transition women and other LGBTIQ-persons should be the decisive in the film’s production.
These criteria can be required of every film that aims to show adult people in dignified and, in this case, sexual contact with one another. This means that feminist women’s films are respectful portrayals of a qualitatively high caliber. These tenets, too, are supposed to be accentuated through such a porno award.
CONTEXTUALIZING THE EUROPEAN FEMINIST PORN FILM PRIZE
In an ideal erotic society, women and men would use all genders of their sexual conceptions and fantasies as a source of strength, would holistically view these as part of their being, and draw stimulation from sex-positive portrayals.
We simultaneously support the three PorNo-Campaigns, spearheaded in Germany to a large part by Alice Schwarzer. Sex-positive feminism is against sexist and racist portrayals, which, as forms of medial violence, hurt the dignity of people and lower the inhibition threshold for real violence. It is also against the pornografication of everyday life, especially in media, fashion, and culture – and against the popular pseudo-morality that allows for, but does not promote, a positive, emotional, sexual enlightenment among youths.
The awarding of a feminist porno film prize contributes to positive enlightenment. A “PorYes” certificate, which arose out of this initial event, is given to those porn films that deal with a feminist criteria and, at the very least, fulfill these three requirements: The sex-positive portrayal of female and other gender lust, the depiction of various sexual forms of expression, and the decisive involvement of women in the production of the film. This differentiates the typical, largely sexist and cliché porn from the women- and human-oriented sex-positive porn productions, which guides consumers and encourages the highly commercial productions to explore more exciting and, above all, more respectful films. A multiplying effect can also ensue in other media.
The Feminist Porno Film Prize ceremony shall award special productions, create categories based on the submitted films, and honor the life works of people who strive toward sex-positive, loving portrayals and artistic realization of sexuality. Categories for a Porno Film Prize could, for example, include genres like sex documentation (documentaries), sexperts (educational films), feature films with sex scenes, sexual orientations (like heterotica, lesbirotica, queerotica, or transporno), particular practices like safe sex porn or sexual competence and general excitement, intelligent porn (with dialogues), more remotely special stories, sound, or even a business prize for successful women in the porn industry.